Seattle's Leader in LASIK Vision Correction FREE CONSULTATION 206.622.2020


  • Seattle's LASIK Leader.
  • "I highly recommend Sound Eye & Laser, Dr. Phillips and the entire staff!"
  • "This was one of the best decisions I have ever made in my life, and I am so, so happy with the results."
  • The surgery was painless and quick... I walked out of my two month follow-up with 20/20 vision. It has been 30+ years since I could see anywhere near this well without some kind of lens.

    - Robert

  • "The results I got were fantastic!! The day after I had the procedure done, my vision was corrected to 20/15. It has held steady since. I highly recommend Sound Eye & Laser! They deliver results!"

To see if you are a candidate for Laser Vision Correction, you may schedule a free consultation with Dr. Phillips by calling 206.622.2020.

The consultation includes all of the measurements for surgery and a complete eye exam with dilation.

Learn more…

LASIK Eye Surgery FAQs

LASIK eye surgery can treat degrees of nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism. We provide our patients with complete information so that they will have realistic expectations about their results. At Sound Eye and Laser in Seattle, we know that not everyone is a candidate. Typically, about 15% of our patients are informed that they are not ideal candidates for LASIK and we then explore other options.

To be a good candidate for LASIK eye surgery you must be at least 18 years of age, in good general health and have good eye health. We will determine if you are a candidate by conducting a thorough examination of your eyes and exploring your individual needs, your expectations and your lifestyle.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Is LASER Vision Correction Safe?

Am I a good candidate?

If you are over 18, have good general and a history of healthy eye, you may be a good candidate for LASIK. Your pre-operative assessment will determine the range of your probable outcomes based on your unique prescription and eye health history. Several conditions that would lead us to recommend against refractive surgery include:

  • Pregnancy or nursing
  • Corneal scarring (laser applications called phototherapeutic keratectomy (PTK) can be used to treat central corneal scarring)
  • History of corneal herpes simplex or zoster infections
  • Severe dry eye
  • Kerataconus (revealed by computerized topography)
  • Autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis or lupus
  • Keloid formation
  • Retinal abnormalities due to diabetes
  • uncontrolled glaucoma
  • developing cataracts
  • unrealistic expectations
  • out of range of approved treatments


To schedule a free consultation call 206-622-2020 or complete our Quick Contact online form.

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What can refractive surgery do for me?

Refractive surgery can reduce or eliminate the need for glasses or contacts.

Certain occupational fields, such as law enforcement, firefighters and the military, have visual requirements. In many instances refractive surgery can allow a person to pursue their occupational goals and Dr. Phillips has operated on many patients for this reason.

Most patients seek LASER Vision Correction not because of vanity, and it is not cosmetic surgery.  The surgery is designed to help patients see better, not designed to have them “look better.”  Glasses and contact lenses are great options for many people and work in many circumstances, but do have their limitations.  This is one reason that the military has been keenly interested in LASER vision correction, and offers it to the active members.
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What are the differences in laser procedures?

There are a number of different refractive surgical procedures.  Conventional refractive eye surgery is a great choice for many patients. During LASIK a corneal flap is created and then the laser is applied. Another procedure, Photo Refractive Keratectomy, (PRK), is a surface treatment where the same laser is applied but without the creation of a corneal flap.

Other procedures include but are not limited to CK (conductive keratoplasty) and refractive intraocular lenses (IOLs), which are increasingly used with cataract surgery. For more information on these procedures, please see Senior Eye Health.

In a bit more technical detail: LASIK  (an acronym for: LASER assisted in situ kaeratomileusis) is the best known refractive surgical procedure and involves creating a flap of corneal epithelium attached to corneal collagen stroma, along with an excimer laser ablation to achieve the proper corneal curvature. PRK is photorefractive Keratectomy, or LASIK wihtout the flap.  It was the first laser vision operation.  LASEK is a variant of PRK, in which the epitheliumis is devitalized and saved, and new epithelium grows in as in PRK.  Another PRK type procedure is epi-LASEK, in which a devitalized epithelial flap is created, and again will heal like PRK.

CK stands for conductive leratoplasty, an operation developed and approved to temporarily reduce the need for reading glasses.  Because it will tend to regress and may need to be repeated over time, it has a limited application.

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What do I need to know about different laser technologies?

Although there are several different manufacturers of excimer lasers (the type of LASER used for LASIK), the laser cavity itself is similar in all of them. How each manufacturer delivers the laser beam varies.

There are three types of excimer lasers on the market.  The first type to be developed is called a broad beam laser.  As the name implies, the beam  is delivered as a large plane of LASER energy.  This has an advantage in that it can be directed onto the eye for a shorter period of time, but has a disadvantage in that the laser “plume” or laser debris, rises as a cloud over the central cornea and this blocks part of the next laser application, leading to un-lasered tissue centrally, in what has been called a “central island”.  Manufacturers of this type of laser have overcome this problem by delivering extra laser shots centrally to compensate.

The second type of laser developed is a modification of the broad beam, which delivers a series of slits of energy across the cornea, aimed obliquely and rotated, in order to not overheat the cornea, and to direct the plume off the cornea so it does not interfere with the following applications.  This is called a scanning slit laser, and is proprietary technology patented by the NIDEK corporation, which manufactures the laser most frequently used at SEAL. Because there is no central plume, there is no “central island”.

A third type of laser used is called a flying spot laser.  This laser uses a relatively small spot of laser energy which is controlled by the computer in the laser to move very quickly across the corneal surface, etching the correct refractive pattern.  It is a very useful way to deliver the laser energy, and is quite programmable, but has the disadvantage of being so dependent on computer programming that the surgeon must rely on the computer fully and cannot validate that the laser is tracing the pattern correctly.  In broad beam and scanning slit laser, the surgeon can visually confirm that the laser is performing correctly.

At SEAL we use the NIDEK EC-5000 excimer laser. Our laser uses cool, computer-controlled beams of ultraviolet light, eye trackers and scanning lasers. Read more about our Laser here.

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Will the procedure hurt?

Nearly all our patients tell us that the procedure was painless but fascinating and that our preoperative education and calming bedside manner in combination with an oral sedative and our anesthetic eyedrops made it pain free. The anesthetic drops are used to numb the eye just before surgery begins, and you can be provided with a mild oral sedative. During the procedure, we are there to talk you through each and every step. Our detailed explanation of the steps of the surgery alleviates fear and increases trust and comfort. After your procedure, your eye may feel a foreign body sensation or irritation for a few hours, but most patients are quite comfortable after taking a short nap. You will be given drops for your eyes to help protect against the potential dryness you may experience post-operation.

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How will my LASIK treatment be customized to my eyes?
As LASIK treatments have developed, a lot has been learned by LASIK doctors on the importance of customizing the treatment to each patient, and to each eye.  As a result of improvements in technology, attention to detail and outcomes analysis, patients who undergo LASIK now have the benefit of the surgeon’s and the professions experience in improving results over the past two decades, and in millions of surgeries performed around the world.

At SEAL we perform a very thorough examination before surgery, and conduct the following exams:

slit lamp exam, intraocular pressure , infrared pupillometry, laser pupillometry, corneal topography, wavefront analysis, auto-refraction.

Customized surgery is based on the results of the examination, including wavefront evaluation, topography, corneal OCT and pachymetry, pupil size etc

* Patient age (minimize need for reading glasses for middle age patients). Because astigmatism changes slightly over a lifetime, we account for this an our treatment plan to maximize the quality of vision for today and for yeras to come.


*myopia, hyperopia, astigamtism

*pupil size in bright and in dim light ( to assure best night time vision)

*ocular tear quality and tear volume to minimize dry eye

*corneal curvature and thickness (maximize stability over time and minimize wavefront aberrations and topography)

*maximize corneal asphericity ( light gathering and visual quality)
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What will my recovery be like?

Most LASIK eye surgery patients have good vision in a day and great vision in a week. Most of our patients are comfortable enough to return to most of their normal daily activities on the day following their procedure. Recovery is slower for PRK patient, most are able to return to work in a week.

Post-operative challenges can include some eye fatigue or blurred vision, but most patients find that these symptoms quickly dissipate.

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When can I go back to work?
Over 90% of our LASIK patients are seeing well enough to pass their driver’s test within 24 hours and are seeing 20/20 or better on the first post-operative day. We can’t guarantee this for every individual, as each eye and each case varies.

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What are the risks?
To be sure, there are risks associated with any surgery. At Sound Eye and Laser, these risks are discussed in detail with you prior to your procedure. However, multiple studies have scientifically demonstrated that the risk of significant vision-reducing complications is very small and that the risks of LASIK have been compared to the risks of extended-wear contact lens use and have found that LASIK is safer. [read an article on the study here].

Many people are surprised to learn that dry eye, not serious vision loss,  is the most common side effect from LASIK. Our comprehensive preoperative evaluation at Sound Eye and Laser assesses people for dry eye and we take steps to prevent dry eye, customized to each individual’s condition. As a consequence, significant dry eye problems, post-LASIK have been reduced substantially.

In the early years of LASIK, night vision problems were common, with approximately 30% of people reporting night vision disturbances.  By using the NIDEK Laser’s “Transition Zone” technology (a technology that has been subsequently adopted by other laser manufacturers), we dramatically reduce the incidences of glare, halos, and other night vision disturbances.

Other potential complications include the corneal flap, under or over correction and a number of other concerns. For a full description of the safety and efficacy of LASIK surgery and to read the FDA-published materials here.

Although there are many possible complications, the likelihood of vision complicating incidents is extremely small.

At Sound Eye and Laser, we further reduce the risks by performing a very comprehensive and diligent pre operative evaluation and we discuss with you any specific findings that could affect your degree of risk. Some people are not good candidates for LASIK and if you are in this category, we will tell you.  The best way to prevent complications is to chose a surgeon who is experienced, detailed oriented and who will evaluate you preoperatively and will be involved with your postoperative care.

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Could I go blind with the surgery?
The is the single most serious question that potential patients of ours ask. It is, of course, possible to go blind as a result of this or any kind of eye surgery. An uncontrollable infection would be the most likely cause. However, infections are very rare and, we at SEAL, have not had anyone lose vision as a consequence of an infection. We have never had a patient of ours go blind. The likelihood of going blind is less than dying in a plane crash, being struck by lightening or being killed by a shark. The FDA states that, as with any surgery, there are potential risks. Read more here.

No blindness occurred in two major national studies of refractive surgery. Infections are very rare and can usually be controlled with antibiotics. In the unlikely event that the cornea becomes scarred, a corneal transplant could be done to restore vision.

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Will my correction last a lifetime?
Laser vision correction is a permanent change in your cornea. We evaluate people pre-operatively to confirm that their vision is stable, ie, to confirm that their need for glasses is not changing. As a consequence, it is very uncommon for people’s vision to shift after laser vision correction.

However, this can happen. So, a very small percentage, perhaps 1 – 2 % of patients may benefit from repeat laser vision correction years after their procedure. We can discuss this question with you in relation to your specific prescription. Most refractive error in your eyes is inherited. Nearsightedness and an astigmatism tend to manifest in childhood and most hyperopia manifests itself in adulthood. Laser vision correction can help fix what Mother Nature left you with, but Father Time will give everyone a need for reading glasses in middle age. LASIK, of course, will not stop aging changes inside the eye.

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Will I ever need glasses again?

Even after successful refractive surgery, patients will likely need to use reading glasses beginning in their mid-forties, and on. This has nothing to do with LASIK eye surgery and everything to do with the normal aging process of the eye, called presbyopia.

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Can one eye be corrected for distance and one for near vision?

Yes. This is called monovision. Some patients come to us already wearing contact lenses with these different prescriptions on purpose to eliminate the need for reading glasses. The one distinct disadvantage of monovision is the loss of fine depth perception. If you want to consider this option, we prefer to have you experience monovision preoperatively to see if you actually like it.

Although monovision is used successfully by many people, we recommend that monovision patients have a set of bifocals made as backups for those situations when they want both eyes focusing on their visual tasks.

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Will I have pain during or after surgery?

You should have no pain during your surgery. You will feel pressure and cool, numbing eye drops. We provide all patients with relaxation medication and numbing eye drops. We will explain to you all the steps of the operation so that you will know what to expect, which we find reassures people during their LASIK procedure.

We provide a number of medications and suggestions to minimize any discomfort post operatively. Pain after LASIK is usually minimal and can be managed easily. In all cases, we help you manage postoperative pain with a combination of rest and a prescription for a short course of mild painkillers, but we often find that our patients do not feel the need to take prescription painkillers.

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What if my eye moves during surgery? How will it keep still?

We instruct our patients to focus on the blinking red and green light (called a fixation light) during the procedure, which centers the treatment of your pupil. In addition, our laser is equipped with a 2000 Hz eye tracker, the same technology that was used in docking the space shuttle to the station.  If your eye moves during the surgery the tracker will keep the laser lined up and if your eye moves too much, it shuts off the laser. Dr. Phillips is also watching and will shut off the laser if your eye moves. Modern technology makes this a non-issue. The average laser time for a LASIK surgery is less than 30 seconds so you won’t have to stare at the blinking light for long.

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How long does the procedure take?

Most patients elect to do both eyes on the same day and this procedure is usually done in less than 20 minutes. Most LASIK eye surgery procedures here at Sound Eye and Laser are performed in under 10 minutes of operating time. For PRK, the actual set up and calibration of the laser actually take longer than the surgery itself. LASIK involves time to center the microkeratome and create the flap (less than one minute), laser application (usually under one minute) and repositioning the flap and waiting for normal corneal suction to hold the flap in place (up to 3 minutes). The average laser time is about 30 seconds.

On the day of your surgery we will go through both pre- and post-operative checks and exams. In all, the visit will last about 2 hours.

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Does Dr. Phillips take the measurements of my eye himself?

Yes. Dr. Phillips will check your correction himself immediately before your laser vision correction, and has done so since he started doing LASIK. We believe this may be one of the reasons that we get a very high percentage who achieve vision that is better than 20/20.

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Further Reading

If you’d like to learn more about LASIK, we recommend visiting:
the Food and Drug Administration’s LASIK website
Read about the Town Hall meeting on LASIK where Dr. Phillips participated as a faculty member/ panelist (2011) here:
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